by Megan Vilson
Anybody moving to a new place will do research on the potential location before the big move. I had done a little bit of research, but of course what persuaded me to leave the Washington, DC area was my husband’s positivity and openness to starting fresh in another state. He was in the thick of medical school in Winston-Salem and I was on the cusp of figuring it out — should I stay or should I go?
But ultimately, I moved and resigned from a full-time position with a nonprofit that I absolutely loved. Why? All for love, the possibility of finding new interests, new people and new places. Change is inevitable.
In my own way, I began to seek out what Winston-Salem has to offer. My husband is very supportive in reassuring me that if I open up, things will come to me. I am not naturally good at opening myself up to new ventures. I often feel that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. There was a hint of regret about leaving home, but that soon subsided.
But hey! My husband was right — as I took the time during my stint of unemployment and transition to reflect, relax, wake up naturally in the morning, without having to battle traffic or aggressive people — I felt entirely too happy. At one point my husband said that I even looked happier — well rested. Gee, thanks! But I completely understood what he meant.
Around the holidays in 2014, about two full months of being here in Camel City, or Twin City, as the locals like to call it, I met a friend at a late-night mixer and we bonded. She would serve as my partner-in-crime. I exulted over the friendship and the sanity it allowed me. I was able to engage in conversation with someone who was not in medical school — what a relief! I am in no way knocking med school, but I am an advocate for anyone to maintain your individuality and own interest in any relationship.
I navigated all Winston-Salem event calendars that I could possibly find with the aid of Eventbrite, Smitty’s Notes and simply paying attention to flyers posted around the city for special events and interest groups. I found that although Winston-Salem is small, it packs a decent punch. There are a myriad of wineries, and craft breweries seem to be the latest and greatest craze of the city and surrounding area.
One thing is for sure: I fully embraced the lack of traffic in Winston-Salem, the downtown skyline, my two new favorite craft-cocktail joints and the fact that we adopted the most gracious puppy from the Forsyth Humane Society. I automatically compare Winston-Salem to the District of Columbia, where I worked for eight glorious years, but I realize that this is comparing apples to oranges and further hinders my outlook on just how great it can be here. Each place has its own quirks and things that make it unique.
Though Winston-Salem lacks in bumper-to-bumper traffic, restaurants and bars per square mile, constant protests, transportation malfunctions, and federal government closures and delays, it overflows with small-city charm, convenience and lush, green foliage.
One day as I was treating myself to sushi for lunch, I relished a comment a stranger made. The man seated next to me said, “You’re not from here, you are handling those chopsticks like you know what you are doing.”
“I am from the DMV,” I replied.
“Ohhh! Yes, I knew you could not be from around here.”
We proceeded to talk about sake and he said the next time I’m in the establishment, it’s on him.
I will embrace being a Triad transplant and fact that my skill with chopsticks is now widely recognized.
A native of Maryland, Megan Vilson currently lives in Winston-Salem with her husband and wonderful dogs. In their down time from work or school they enjoy craft brews and sightseeing around the Triad.